Clinton Papers Won't Be Released Until After Election

Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., has been taking heat from her Democratic and Republican opponents for the reams of papers detailing her various activities as First Lady that the National Archives has yet to release from the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library.

And now questions are being raised about why another set of papers relevant to her political career at yet another Arkansas library will not be available to the public until well after election day 2008, despite earlier indications that the papers would have been released by now.

Those papers were written by Diane Blair, a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who taught and engaged in Arkansas politics until her death due to lung cancer in 2000.

As a trusted friend during then-Gov. Bill Clinton's successful presidential run in 1992, Blair was permitted to extensively interview 126 senior and junior Clinton campaign aides, which resulted in four enormous binders full of information.

The information was to be published in a book that Blair, a historian and author, ultimately never wrote.

Only two copies of the Blair Report were ever made; one was given to the Clintons, the other remained in Blair's custody until after her death, whereupon the books were given to the University of Arkansas Library.

Last month the University of Arkansas announced that the Blair Papers would not be made public until 2009. Andrea Cantrell, the head of research services at the university library's Special Collections, told reporters that the Papers were not yet processed.

But that claim seems questionable, according to statements the Library itself has made obtained by ABC News.

In its 2005-2006 University Libraries annual report, for example, the University of Arkansas reported that the process was almost done. "Archivists were hired to process both the Diane Blair Papers and the records of former third district Congressman Asa Hutchinson, and both collections are nearing completion."

Moreover, while in November 2005 the University appointed Kerry Jones the "Diane Blair Papers Archivist," the University Of Arkansas Library Newsletter one year later, in 2006, implied the job has been completed, describing Jones as having "previously processed the papers of the late Diane Blair."

Jones was desribed as taking on a new task, as part of the Special Collections Department team "gearing up to begin processing its largest manuscript collection, the papers of former U. S. Congressman John Paul Hammerschmidt."

"All I can say is that was a preliminary estimation and neither of the collections that were reported on are finished, neither Blair nor Congressman Hutchinson's papers," Tom Dillard, head of the Special Collections Department, told ABC News. "They're just not ready."

Dillard acknowledged that while "there has been a preliminary processing," and that Jones "did his part," the Blair Papers require much more "quality control" work.

"The big problem are the oral histories," he said. "Those require a lot of legwork. The other process is going through it box by box and making sure the contents of what's in the file folders is what they're supposed to be. There is a lot more work that needs to be done."

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